Shakespeare's Ideas (Blackwell Great Minds) by David Bevington

By David Bevington

An in-depth exploration, via his performs and poems, of the philosophy of Shakespeare as a good poet, an excellent dramatist and a "great mind".

  • Written through a number one Shakespearean scholar
  • Discusses an array of subject matters, together with intercourse and gender, politics and political conception, writing and performing, non secular controversy and problems with religion, skepticism and misanthropy, and closure
  • Explores Shakespeare as an excellent poet, an exceptional dramatist and a "great mind"

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One can argue, to be sure, that the doctrines of divine right and passive obedience were evolved by governing elites over the ages as a kind of mythology aimed at preserving the status quo. This is an interpretation with which John of Gaunt would disagree. qxd 20/5/08 2:14 PM Page 47 What is Honour? Politics and Political Theory 47 Shakespeare? Do his history plays invite, or at least allow, such a sceptical and secular view of history? The answer is not easy to come by, but we can at least begin by observing that John of Gaunt is not Shakespeare’s mouthpiece in Richard II.

Hermia is similarly hurt by Lysander’s desertion of her; they have eloped into the forest at great personal risk to be with each other, and now he has given her up in order that he may pursue Helena. 209–11). The men, conversely, are constant to nothing other than to their aggressive rivalry. Demetrius, once a wooer of Helena, chases fruitlessly after Hermia, though knowing her to be in love with Lysander, until at length he is restored to his first affection. Lysander similarly shifts from his engagement with Hermia to a mad pursuit of Helena and eventually to a renewal of his first love.

In Chaucer’s poem, Troilus and Criseyde (1382–6), she is resourceful, witty, and capable of insightful tenderness. By the early seventeenth century, on the other hand, her name had become virtually synonymous with that of the inconstant woman. 195). Just as Troilus’s name will become associated with male constancy (‘As true as Troilus’) and just as Pandarus’s name will become a byword for ‘all brokers-between’ (181, 202–3), Cressida is aware that if she proves false to her vows in love, her name will be forever equated with falseness in women.

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